Monday, July 18, 2005

Mercury showdown coming up in the Senate

Today Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) filed a petition that would permit the full Senate to vote directly on a resolution disapproving the pro-industry Bush mercury rules. (Technically, this is called a discharge petition under the Congressional Review Act. I am told this is the first time a discharge petition has been filed on a Bush anti-environmental rule.)

The petition permits senators led by Leahy to go directly to the Senate floor for a vote, bypassing Senator James Inhofe’s (R-OK) Environment and Public Works Committee. It's not official yet, but we understand Leahy and his supporters may not actually call for a vote until Congress returns from its summer vacation in September.

We hear the coal-burning power companies are ramping up their lobbying efforts in the Senate. Senator Inhofe reportedly called some industry lobbyists into his office last week and urged them to turn up the heat against Leahy.

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